Aid Family Prayer Time With Rosary Picture Books for Children
A kid-friendly series will cultivate Marian devotion in little hearts.
As an adult praying the Rosary, Sandra Rosetter knew from experience that focusing on a Scripture verse or reference for each bead kept her mind from wandering, helping the prayers to became more meaningful.
“I wondered: How can we keep children engaged through the entire Rosary?” she told the Register.
Consequently, she was inspired to create A Little Catholic’s First Rosary Book series — four books, one for each mystery of the Rosary, beginning with the Joyful Mysteries. All are subtitled A Bead-by-Bead Picture Prayer Book.
“I felt that if this information could be translated into pictures, children could also focus bead by bead, and that is exactly what we did. The Bead-by-Bead Rosary books are designed with a special illustration for each bead of the Rosary. After each prayer (bead), the child simply turns the page for a new image.”
The books have sturdy pages that even the youngest can easily turn or flip again and again. Being spiral-bound, the books stay open so children can hold ta rosary too. Colorful drawings by Stacey LeNeave, Rosetter’s sister, tell the story of every mystery. Each picture has a single short sentence describing some aspect of that mystery to keep children’s attention on that mystery’s “story.”
“The delightful illustrations walk the children through each mystery bead by bead,” Rosetter explained. That helps “them ‘meditate’ and stay focused throughout the entire Rosary.”
From the start, she thought her sister could bring this idea to life through her drawings. “She is a gifted artist and has had a successful career as a commercial photo stylist in the Twin Cities,” Rosetter said of her sister’s work. “She was more than willing to lend her creative hand.”
Since there were more than 200 illustrations, the sisters worked together once a week for several years. Rosetter said it has “truly been a labor of love.” Positive feedback from families who prayed the Rosary using the first draft of the Joyful Mysteries provided “the affirmations needed to confidently and wholeheartedly complete the series.”
“These are the best Rosary books ever,” Stephanie Jakoblich said from Minnesota about the book set. “I think it’s one of the best ways that our family can meditate on the mysteries and pray along with the story in simple language. We pray a decade almost every night, and they have even been asking about it if we forget.”
One after the other, testimonies have come in from parents and even grandparents about how the children enthusiastically take to the books and the Rosary.
“Praying the Rosary with our 4-year-old ultimately ended with her barely making it through half the first decade before she spent the rest of the prayer putting the ‘necklace’ on her stuffed animals,” Matthew Sumski of North Carolina explained of his family’s previous prayer experience. “These books have made our prayer time a lot more relaxing, and I highly recommend them to those families struggling to keep their young’uns occupied during prayer time.” Their “4-year-old daughter now leads the family Rosary because of these books,” he reported.
In Texas, Michelle Nelli explained, “The simple pictures and text allow my 6-year-old to fully participate in the Rosary while not only reflecting on the mystery for all 10 Hail Marys, but it also allows him to practice his reading and see the story of salvation unfold. He has already asked me if we could do one or two more decades, which has never happened before.”
Rosetter underscores the feedback: “The books really help the younger children stay happily focused.”
When Rosetter sent a copy of the first printing of the Joyful Mysteries book to Ken and Kerri Davison, co-founders of Holy Heroes, which carries Catholic books, CDs, DVDs and free activities for children and families, they responded at once.
“We immediately knew that Catholic families would love using these books during the family Rosary,” Ken said.
“We are the current publishers of all four Rosary books, and they have become some of our best-selling products. They are consistently the products that receive the most feedback from customers, each sharing how these books have helped renew — or even inspire the beginning of — their family Rosary. We are in the second printing of the books and foresee needing to go into our third printing by 2022.”
Rosetter has great hopes for children learning the Rosary through this method. “My biggest hope for children praying with the Bead-by-Bead books is for them to develop a love for the Rosary at an early age and that they become meaningful instruments in the development of their prayer life. Another hope is that as they grow in age and faith, the familiar images will set the stage for deeper prayer as they mature and ponder the mysteries in more broadened ways.”
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